Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘US Embassy in Bangkok’

4th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand is poised to begin exclusively offering routine services at the American Citizen Services section of the Post by appointment only. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

Beginning September 1, 2011, all non-emergency consular services will require an appointment. We hope that this will assist us in providing prompt and efficient consular services to American Citizens residing in Thailand.  Please plan accordingly.

For those who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to United States Missions abroad it should be noted that an American Citizen Services section of a US Embassy, US Consulate, or American Institute provides many services for Americans resident abroad. Such services include, but are not limited to, US Passport issuance, Consular Report of Birth Abroad issuance, Notary Services, and issuance of additional pages to a previously issued US Passport. It has always been this blogger’s personal experience that the ACS unit of the US Embassy in Bangkok handles matters in an efficient and courteous manner. That stated, the unit always seems hectically busy and it would appear that the new policy is aimed at streamlining the processing of pertinent requests.

Those seeking information regarding visas and immigration to the United States should look for information regarding Immigrant Visa Units and/or Non-Immigrant Visa Units at US Posts abroad as those sections are generally tasked with adjudicating applications for visas such as the B-2 visa, the K-1 visa, the CR-1 visa, and the IR-1 visa.

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1st April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that an attorney formerly associated with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE, sometimes referred to by the acronym ICE) has received a criminal conviction which involves public corruption. To quote directly from the New York Paralegal Blog:

LOS ANGELES—A senior attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was sentenced this morning to 212 months in federal prison for taking nearly one-half million dollars in bribes from immigrants who were promised immigration benefits that would allow them to remain in the United States.

ICE Assistant Chief Counsel Constantine Peter Kallas, 40, of Alta Loma, received the 17⅔-year sentence from United States District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Hatter ordered Kallas to pay $296,865 in restitution after fraudulently receiving worker’s compensation benefits.

“Mr. Kallas has received one of the longest sentences ever seen in a public corruption case,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Mr. Kallas took in hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes—money he obtained by exploiting his knowledge of the immigration system. The lengthy sentence reflects the seriousness of the crimes, which were a wholesale violation of the public trust.”

Those interested in reading more are highly encouraged to click on the above hyperlinks to learn more.

It is unfortunate any time there is a situation where a public official is engaged in corruption. The case cited above is notable for the fact that the United States government is clearly not treating such cases as anything less than serious. Corruption is a concern for all polities around the world as corruption can undermine the very fabric of the political system in which it occurs. One of the most important aspects of the United States is the high ethical standard by which public servants must adhere. This blogger has personally found that public servants at the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, and the US Embassy in Bangkok are all helpful and highly ethical, but not all government employees are up to such standards, as evidenced by the quotation above. However, there is a tendency among the public at large to view innocent and upstanding public servants through the same lens as the former attorney noted above. This would be a mistake, most public servants are ethical hard working people who are simply interested in doing the job they were retained to perform. Casting all public servants in the same light as the former ICE agent noted above would fail to take into account the significant contribution of the public servants currently providing valuable services to the American public.

For related information please see: USICE.

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28th June 2010

On this blog we regularly post information of general interest to Americans or prospective immigrants seeking services at American Embassies or Consulates abroad. The following is the posted holiday closing schedule for the United States Consulate-General in Guangzhou, China. The following is a direct quotation from the US Embassy in China’s website:

We are CLOSED on the following American and Chinese holidays.

Date

Weekday

Holiday

Nation

January 1 Friday New Year’s Day US & China
January 18 Monday Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday US
February 13 - 17 Saturday – Wednesday Chinese (Lunar) New Year China
February 15 Monday President’s Day US
April 5 Monday Tomb Sweeping Day China
May 1 – 3 Saturday – Monday International Labor Day China
May 31 Monday Memorial Day US
June 16 Wednesday Dragon Boat Festival China
July 5 Monday Independence Day US
September 6 Monday Labor Day US
September 22 Wednesday Mid-Autumn Festival China
October 1 – 5 Friday - Tuesday Chinese National Day China
October 11 Monday Columbus Day US
November 11 Thursday Veterans’ Day US
November 25 Thursday Thanksgiving Day US
December 24 Friday Christmas Day US
December 31 Friday New Year’s Day (2011)

Holiday closure schedules can be very important for Americans as there often arise situations in which an American believes that the closest US Embassy or US Consulate will be open for business when, in fact, the Embassy or Consulate is closed for a holiday in the host country or one of the more obscure US holidays. This author has personally been the victim of this problem when traveling to the US Embassy in Bangkok and realizing that the Embassy was closed for American Veterans Day. To save others time and  frustration, we try to post these lists so that travelers can plan accordingly.

Many Americans traveling overseas find that they need the assistance of an American Citizen Services (ACS) section of an American Embassy or Consulate overseas. Many find that they need ACS to produce a replacement US passport, add visa pages, or, in some cases, more serious matters must be dealt with that can only be executed by an American Consular Officer.

In situations where a prospective immigrant to the United States wishes to set a visa interview appointment for a K1 visa, a K3 visa, a CR1 visa, or an IR1 visa it may be best if the applicant makes an appointment prior to traveling to the Post in order to be sure that the Post is functioning upon arrival. This is also the case for those seeking a non-immigrant visa such as a B1 visa, B2 visa, F1 visa, or J1 visa. Interviews for these types of travel documents are usually scheduled in advance, but it is recommended that one contact the post prior to interview in order to be fully apprised as to the pertinent protocols.

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15th May 2010

Please be advised that the following announcement was posted on the official website of the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand:

Announcement

Due to the security situation in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy, the Embassy will be closed for services on Monday, May 17.   Visa applicants with appointments scheduled for Monday, May 17 are instructed to come for an interview on Friday, May 21 at the same time as their originally scheduled appointment (e.g. If your appointment was scheduled for 9:00am on Monday, May 17, please come for your appointment at 9:00am on Friday, May 21).   Should you be unable to come to the Embassy on Friday, May 21, please make a new appointment through the appointment system on the U.S. Embassy website: http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/non-immigrant_visas/visa-appointments.html.

Please be advised that applicants impacted by this closure are being been notified through the e-mail addresses and/or phone numbers supplied during the appointment registration process. Please check your e-mail INBOX and SPAM folders, as some e-mail software may direct our e-mails to the SPAM folder.  Only those applicants who were registered with the Embassy for their original appointments on Monday, May 17 will be permitted entry on Friday, May 21.

We ask that you please appear 30 minutes prior to your appointment time on Friday, May 21 to allow time for the enrollment process.  Please check the Embassy website prior to your arrival, should the unrest in the vicinity of the Embassy remain ongoing. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact visasbkk@state.gov.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Non-Immigrant Visa Section

U.S. Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand

In a previous posting on this blog, it was noted that the US Embassy had closed on Friday May 14th in anticipation of possible unrest. Apparently all non-essential US government staff, along with their families, have been allowed to leave Bangkok. To quote from the website Wireupdate.com:

The Department of State has authorized the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible family members from Bangkok. This replaces the Travel Alert dated April 28, 2010, and is in response to updated information on increased violence and security concerns. The Department of State recommends against travel to Bangkok and non-essential travel to Thailand at this time.

This author would like to take this opportunity to note the determination and professionalism shown by the staff at the US Embassy in Bangkok up to this point. It has been this author’s experience that up until the most recent rounds of violence, the Embassy continued to conduct activities with grace, efficiency, and fortitude. The officers of the Embassy and the Consulate should be commended for providing extremely diligent service in the midst of an extremely difficult and unpredictable situation. Due to the situation, it is this author’s opinion that the closure of the Embassy and the evacuation of non-essential staff was both necessary and unavoidable.

From anecdotal evidence this author has learned that many areas of Bangkok have been impacted by the worsening violence. This author has heard reports from at least one source which confirms that sporadic and unpredictable gunfire has been exchanged in certain sectors of the city. For this reason, travel into the Bangkok City Center is not recommended at the time of this writing.

The website ThaiVisa.com, on  2010-05-16 07:29:13, is reporting the following:

The facts were 17 had been killed and they were all civilians. By evening, one more death was reported – that of an emergency rescue worker. The response by the government’s Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) came late in the afternoon. CRES officials said the high death toll was a result of reds shooting one another and the government faced the threat of political order being overthrown.

At present, an accurate portrayal of Bangkok is difficult as there is a great deal of uncertainty. Media outlets are having difficulty reporting the news as a sort of “Fog of Confusion” seems to have descended upon parts of the city. This author will continue to try to provide useful updates on this blog if necessary. At present, the Bangkok School System will postpone reopening of schools, previously scheduled for Monday May 17th, until the civil unrest has subsided.

As always, for information about attorney assistance with Consular Processing in Bangkok please see: US Embassy Thailand or US Embassy Bangkok.

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